Multinational tobacco companies and
retailers profit from youth smoking.
Survey results show that school-aged Canadians
recruited into tobacco addiction are more likely
to smoke brand-name cigarettes than contraband.
Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada released
today results from the Youth Smoking Survey
showing the brand preferences of children in
elementary and high-schools, as well as
estimates of the revenues received by
governments, multinational tobacco companies and
retailers from youth smoking.
"The big winners in the competition for
starter smokers is Philip Morris International,
whose Canadian subsidiary makes the brands
favoured by more than a third of Canadian school
students," said Cynthia Callard. "Japan
Tobacco International has the brand loyalty of
one-quarter of these children and British
American Tobacco comes in third as the
manufacturer of brands preferred by one-sixth."
PSC found that native cigarettes were the usual
brands of fewer than one-tenth of school-aged
"The big losers, of course, are the children
whose current and future health is compromised
by tobacco companies for whom the bottom line
trumps public concern."
"From a health perspective, there is no
difference between the risk of youth smoking
legally or illegally manufactured cigarette,"
said Callard. "Both are addictive, both
produce the same mix of toxic chemicals, both
can and do lead to illness and premature death."
"One million cigarettes are smoked by
school-aged children in Canada each day,"
explained Cynthia Callard, PSC's executive
director. "Most of these cigarettes are legally
manufactured and are fully tax paid."
Based on the survey results for usual brand
and quantities smoked by young smokers, and
using Health Canada's estimates of industry
profitability, PSC estimated that youth smoking
in Canada results in annual profits to the
industry of over $11 million and tax revenues to
governments of over $83 million.
"By focusing on the 10% of the youth market
that they have lost to illegal manufacturers,
tobacco companies and retailers are trying to
deflect attention from their own culpability in
the continuation of the entirely preventable
disease of tobacco addiction."
PSC is calling on governments to ensure that
they do not profit from the youth tobacco sales
by allocating the entirety of their revenues
from taxes on cigarettes smoked by youth to
smoking prevention programs, and is calling for
new measures to hold manufacturers responsible
for youth smoking.
The Youth Smoking Survey was conducted by the
Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at
the University of Waterloo on behalf of Health
Canada. More than 50,000 students in grades 6 to
12 from across Canada (other than the northern
territories) were involved in the study.